Are You Accused of Stalking in Florida?
When people think of crimes, they often think of offenses that have to do with lying, cheating, stealing, causing property damage, and causing physical harm to people. But in recent years, stalking has been criminalized in states across the country. Even though stalking does not involve inflicting direct physical harm to the person being stalked, it can certainly inflict emotional harm, which in many instances, can have similar effects for the victim.
If someone feels they’re in immediate danger, they’re urged by law enforcement to call 911. The victim is advised to contact their local police department and report the stalking and any stalking-related incidents or threats. So, will such complaints fall on deaf ears? No, they won’t. The police take reports of stalking very seriously.
What is Stalking?
The United States Department of Justice defines stalking as “...engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.”
Examples of stalking behaviors:
- Leaving the victim unwanted items
- Following the victim
- Lying in wait for the victim
- Damaging the victim’s property
- Threatening to damage the victim’s property
- Defaming the victim’s character
- Harassing the victim through the internet
- Posting personal information about the victim online
- Spreading rumors about the victim
In Florida, stalking is criminalized under Section 784.048 of the Florida Statutes. Under Florida law, when someone “willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person,” they commit the offense of stalking, which is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 and up to one year in jail.
“According to the CDC's National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men have been stalked during their lifetime. For both female and male victims, stalking was often committed by people they knew or with whom they had a relationship,” reports the National Institute of Justice.
Accused of stalking? If you’re facing stalking charges, contact my firm for a free consultation at (561) 475-2752.